Restore the open primary

By on March 5, 2014

Editor, Record Express,

I am writing in response to Ann Womble’s article in last week’s Sunday News, regarding the endorsement of Republican candidates for political office in Lancaster County. I agree that the party’s committee members are elected to represent our “views, concerns and ideas.” I, however, didn’t elect them to deny me of my “Freedom of Choice,” by disallowing me to vote for the candidate of my choice in a primary election.

I have been a registered Republican in the county since 1976, in the late 1970’s I served as chairman of voter registration in the Ephrata School District, judge of elections, and as Ephrata’s mayor in the early 1980’s.

An article in this past week’s “Ephrata Review” called Womble “agitated” as a result of Rep. Denlinger’s decision to run as an independent Republican for the 36th Senatorial District seat in the upcoming primary. Well, I too am “agitated.” I believe I have written three letters to the editor during my 65 years, however I feel it is time to vent my “agitation” with the local Republican hierarchy.

In recent years the primary election in Lancaster Co. has become a joke in relationship to the election of candidates for county row offices and state legislative offices. There is no wonder that voter turnout is low, or almost nil, on Primary Election Day. We are offered no choice except that dictated to us by a select group of people who brokered the endorsement of an “anointed” candidate. Under this system there is no longer a reason to go out and vote on Primary Election Day.

Yes, there may be the need for yard signs and more leg-work on the part of the candidate and his supporters, but, after all, the candidates are vying, in the case of the Senatorial seat, for a job that I believe pays $82,026 a year plus $159 (vouchered) a day along with a pension at age 50. With the use of newspapers, public forums, the Internet and social media the cost of a candidate reaching out to their constituency in this day and age should be minimal. Might I suggest that the committee people concentrate on voter registration and getting the vote out on election day. If committee people from a particular municipality favor a candidate they should rally and get the vote out for that candidate in the Primary. The choice of voting for a particular candidate should remain with each individual voter.

It is high time to return to the “open primary” in Lancaster County. Put the selection process back in the hands of the people where it belongs and restore our “Freedom of Choice.”

Clarence E. Spohn


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